The Computer Science & Engineering graduate program provides financial support to many of its doctoral students through teaching assistant appointments.

New students are considered for and awarded teaching assistantships as part of the admissions process. Continuing students may apply in the spring semester to be considered for TA positions for the next academic year. Application acceptance dates will be announced via the grads mailing list (interested students should verify that they are subscribed to this list and watch the announcement). The TA application is available online. Summer session teaching assistants are selected from among students who have served as teaching assistants in the previous academic year. These students will be notified of summer possibilities during the preceding spring semester.

Teaching assistantship departmental policy

  1. To limit eligibility for graduate TA appointments to 6 semesters total. This is irrespective of the percentage of appointment. However, summer TA appointments are not included in this count. Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the department.
  2. To make as many 50% appointments as possible for the whole academic year as are consistent with budgetary prudence and the known and confidently anticipated needs of the department.
  3. To provide notice of the TA appointments before the end of the semester preceding the term of appointment (summer and fall appointments are made before the end of spring semester).
  4. To save at least eight appointments for new students and make the balance from continuing students. New student appointments are made during the admission process, based on merit.
  5. To allow new students not appointed to file applications for spring consideration.
  6. To make summer appointments from among students who had an appointment in one of the semesters of the preceding academic year.
  7. To minimize the number of combined RA-TA appointments and split assignments.
  8. To enforce departmental rules regarding eligibility, total percentage of appointment, and degree progress in an objective manner consistent with the needs of the department.
  9. That the total TA/RA support from all sources does not exceed 50% in any semester (including summer sessions) for anyone with a computer science TA appointment. Exceptions to this policy can be granted only by the Department Head in advance under extraordinary circumstances.
  10. Students who have a record of cheating not be given TA appointments.

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Appointment criteria

Appointments are based on a number of criteria, please visit the Graduate Teaching Assistantship Handbook for more information on appointment criteria.

Appointment information

Most appointments are 50% FTE (full time employee); for information on other appointment types, please visit the TA handbook.

A 50% (or half-time) appointment provides a 100% (or near 100%) tuition benefit, and half-time teaching assistants (TAs) are expected to provide an average of 20 hours per week of service. A teaching assistant's specific duties are assigned by the instructor. These may include but are not limited to: conducting laboratory or recitation sessions, assisting students with laboratory and homework assignments, grading assignments and examinations, and assisting the instructor with the preparation of course materials. In some cases, depending on a TA's experience with the course materials or the particular instructor, the TA may be required to attend the lectures and/or do all the assignments.

TA orientation

The Computer Science & Engineering program participates in TA training and orientation programs that are sponsored by the Center for Educational Innovation of the University of Minnesota. Teaching assistants will be notified if such programs are mandatory. Even when they are optional, students are urged to attend them. For more information please visit the TA handbook.

Research assistantships (RA)


Teaching assistants and research Assistants must be enrolled for a minimum of six credits each semester, except for doctoral candidates (those who have passed the preliminary oral examination for the Ph.D. degree and have completed all doctoral thesis credits) who must enroll for a minimum of one credit (CSCI 8444). There may be additional registration requirements imposed by sources external to the Graduate School and international students should check with the International Student & Scholar Services office.

International students on F-1 and J-1 visas are not allowed to be employed more than 20 hours per week during the academic year, except during vacation periods. This is a regulation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), not the University of Minnesota. The INS has unequivocally stated that assistantships are considered employees and are subject to the 20-hour per week rule.


The Graduate School offers a variety of fellowships in addition to fellowships that require program nomination. Announcements of these fellowships will be sent to the grads email alias so students must be sure to subscribe to this list.


Goldy Gopher on a gold background

CS&E Graduate TA Supervisor